What are my alternatives to college?

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K_Kelly
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01 Jun 2015, 4:25 pm

Three years ago, I got my high school diploma. I decided however, to save money and be more of a responsible adult by skipping college. Until now, I have been a lonely home body while assisted by parents. I need to take care of myself now. I need to understand my options, I have never gotten a clear picture of what I want to do. I have to do something. While an acting career does sound cool, for example, I see it more as a pipe dream not worth trying. I don't even have experience with being in plays and everything. I need something real and attainable. But I just can't answer the common "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" in a fluent, descriptive manner.

I need everyone's help.



MollyTroubletail
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01 Jun 2015, 4:43 pm

You can earn as much as a college graduate if you go into the trades. By trades I mean plumber, electrician, laser printer/copier repair person, etc. Of course we have no idea of your skills, inclinations or interests so it's hard to suggest something more specific. The reason I suggested "trades" is that you can make a great living while not interacting with other people too much and not requiring a college degree and working pretty regular hours. You might get better suggestions if you let us know your interests and talents.



ASS-P
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01 Jun 2015, 4:45 pm

...Well , you can be miserable and lonely and homeless like me and thinking about how you never got to go to true college , and crying :cry: :cry: .........



Andreger
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02 Jun 2015, 6:15 am

MollyTroubletail wrote:
You can earn as much as a college graduate if you go into the trades. By trades I mean plumber, electrician, laser printer/copier repair person, etc. Of course we have no idea of your skills, inclinations or interests so it's hard to suggest something more specific. The reason I suggested "trades" is that you can make a great living while not interacting with other people too much and not requiring a college degree and working pretty regular hours. You might get better suggestions if you let us know your interests and talents.


If he's in America of course. In Russia or Ukraine (and in plenty of other third-world countries) good plumber or electrician rarely makes more money than cashier or security guard in the mall.



carthago
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15 Jun 2015, 11:09 pm

Start with jobs that are available and pay well and then work your way down the list until you find something that you could do without pulling your hair out.

Most work isn't fun or fulfilling, but it keeps the lights on and puts food on the table. You might even start to like what you do, but probably not at first.

Yes, acting is a pipe dream.



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15 Jun 2015, 11:24 pm

Getting "Education" is a hell of a lot cheaper (and I might even argue of much better quality) within countries like Singapore than equivalent courses in the United States (because the same education in the U.S. is like 20x the cost of what you could be learning in Singapore & getting yourself tons of certificates & diplomas from Singaporean-Schools). Except you'll need to be able to speak Chinese fluently if you expect to get any decent kind of work in that location (but really it's best just to go there for a bunch of really cheap schooling then come back to the U.S. for working since you'll have been able to have "graduated" from a variety of schools with diplomas/certifications to show for that don't cost you ten arms and twelve legs unlike in the U.S.).


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SocOfAutism
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16 Jun 2015, 9:27 am

MollyTroubletail wrote:
You can earn as much as a college graduate if you go into the trades. By trades I mean plumber, electrician, laser printer/copier repair person, etc. Of course we have no idea of your skills, inclinations or interests so it's hard to suggest something more specific. The reason I suggested "trades" is that you can make a great living while not interacting with other people too much and not requiring a college degree and working pretty regular hours. You might get better suggestions if you let us know your interests and talents.


^ I second this. I have two autistic family members who got two year electrical engineering degrees from a place where you can skip Summer and get the degree in a year and a half. And you can choose whether to go days or nights. If you go nights you'll often be in with older, tired, working people who are more serious and better company as classmates.

Both of these people are making a solid middle class wage for the area we live in and have never had trouble finding a job. There's also a surprising range of jobs.

I know another, NT person who has a two year mechanic degree from one of those schools. He makes a low middle class wage and also has no problem getting jobs.



BTDT
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17 Jun 2015, 8:39 am

We had bunch of kids join our company right out of school with no experience. Wasn't long before they left for better jobs. Around here, good health and the right attitude is much more enticing to an employer than a degree and issues about working.

One of the biggest benefits to working you can get is privately paid health insurance. There seems to be a triage system.
1)Private Insurance
2)Government Insurance
3)No Insurance
I suppose you could add those doctors who don't deal with insurance and want cash, but most folks around here can't afford that. If you have private insurance you get access to more and better treatment. If you need speech therapy they will check your insurance policy and give you as much as your policy allows.



absatlow
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17 Jun 2015, 9:32 am

Don't think you'd do well with most trade jobs (like electrician, plumber, etc) wrong skillsets for you. Maybe I'm wrong.


If I were you, I would do one of these things:

1. screw education all together (including trade school) and look into starting your own private practice somewhere. You need a strong strength you can turn into a business. Jobs like cleaning houses, counseling, etc can be turned into private practices. Look into your local community colleges workforce development/continuing Ed department to get basic experience with marketing and running a business. This may not be 100% reliable so if this concerns you, I wouldn't do something like this.

2. Look into doing massage therapy

3. Work in retail to build experience and money but don't expect to get past entry level in this profession

4. If your not big on the college experience (or time is an issue) but have the capasity to do college itself, try your local community college then switch to a 4 year school after graduating.

5. Maybe find a more reliable job that has acting as part of it. Examples include: a police narcotic, person doing TV ads, etc.


Other misc suggestions:

1. You should get a proper ASD diagnosis. This isn't for insurance purposes but to better understand your strengths and weaknesses in terms of employment. If your diagnosis is old, maybe try getting re evaluated. Don't blindly trust what the evaluation says as many docs are ignorant or want to give you a diagnosis that will better sell you services.

2. Should diagnose to employer at the interview. Saying this with management experience (I am an entrepreneur with ASD). While I definitely have ASD myself, I feel most ASD firings are at fault of individuals with ASD not the employer. Not disclosing at an interview but after your hired could seriously tick off an employer. Most non ASD professiomals from my experience want to be helpful so giving a diagnosis right away, learning ADA law, and being a good self advocate will help you big time (way more than speech pathology). One thing I want to honestly advocate for is the ability for employers to request general info (like a mental health diagnosis) to perspective employees (but they cannot discriminate based on this info). I believe from hearing about ASD and disability firings is that many are linked with not being open to an employer about their diagnosis and mental health issues.

3. Be yourself and genuine. Depending on your personality and location, this may or may not serve you well. If you state your ASD differences but also the pluses about you, many (but not all) people will highly admire you. If you try to hide your diagnosis and pretend to be like everyone else, you most likely won't keep a job regardless if you have a degree or not.

4. #2 is especially important in locations that believe false stigma such as most of the Northeast and Mid West.

Hope this helps!



CateJayne
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18 Jun 2015, 4:22 pm

K_Kelly wrote:
Three years ago, I got my high school diploma. I decided however, to save money and be more of a responsible adult by skipping college. Until now, I have been a lonely home body while assisted by parents. I need to take care of myself now. I need to understand my options, I have never gotten a clear picture of what I want to do. I have to do something. While an acting career does sound cool, for example, I see it more as a pipe dream not worth trying. I don't even have experience with being in plays and everything. I need something real and attainable. But I just can't answer the common "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" in a fluent, descriptive manner.

I need everyone's help.


Only YOU can figure out what kind of a job YOU want/will enjoy/not hate.

- do the "what color is your [email protected] thing
- call your old high school guidance counsellor and ask for recommendations for free/low-cost city or state careers offices for aptitude testing
- get any kind of job you can in the meantime -- if you've never worked, even working fast food or at a store in a mall for minimum wage will help you learn "soft skills" and put some cash in your pocket
- a structured job-training program like JobCorps or AmeriCorps could could help you learn job and independent living skills while getting work experience
- once you've figured out what you enjoy doing (or don't hate what you're dong), you can pursue the education needed to do it - maybe an apprenticeship in the trades, maybe something else!



absatlow
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19 Jun 2015, 9:57 am

I don't 100% agree with you CateJayne.

If someone were to have an ACCURATE mental health diagnosis, I feel this alone could CORRECTLY determine which job someone would be good at/enjoy. But very few people with ASD are properly diagnoed where the label docs give is basically meaningless. I am an entrepreneur and one of my ideas is to create a temp program for autistic workers. The workers would be clumped by diagnosis from a triage person in the program less so job interests (probably that also but their diagnosis would be first). The diagnosis a doc would give would be irrelevant. I have correctly made deductions on people solely based on a diagnosis plenty of times.

Please make sure you look at the Wrong Planet code of conduct prior to responding



BlazeJester
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21 Jun 2015, 9:44 pm

I have a Masters degree in Chemistry. I really wish I had gone into the trades. It is a field (whichever you choose, plumbing, electric, etc) where you become a subject matter expert, can work for yourself and aside from "which toilet is clogged" and basic courtesy, doesn't require a terrible amount of people skills. If I knew my skills in high school and knew I had Asperger's, I would have been a plumber in a heartbeat. AND I'd make more than I do now, with all that education.



CateJayne
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23 Jun 2015, 1:37 pm

absatlow wrote:
I don't 100% agree with you CateJayne.

If someone were to have an ACCURATE mental health diagnosis, I feel this alone could CORRECTLY determine which job someone would be good at/enjoy. But very few people with ASD are properly diagnoed where the label docs give is basically meaningless. I am an entrepreneur and one of my ideas is to create a temp program for autistic workers. The workers would be clumped by diagnosis from a triage person in the program less so job interests (probably that also but their diagnosis would be first). The diagnosis a doc would give would be irrelevant. I have correctly made deductions on people solely based on a diagnosis plenty of times.

Please make sure you look at the Wrong Planet code of conduct prior to responding


Abastalow - I'm not sure why you referred me to the code of conduct. I looked at it and, well, I'm still mystified.

Why are you asking k_kelly about mental illnesses? Seeing as he/she didn't mention having one??

How (and why) would a temp agency want to place an individual with autism who has no idea what sort of job they want/has no work experience?

K_kelly - I think you have to figure out what interests you and what sort of job you think you might enjoy/tolerate. Nobody else can do that *for* you.

The free/low cost aptitude testing mentioned above might help get you started and I'd still vote for taking any kind of job you can get in the meantime -- even at minimum wage, you'd gain "soft skills", earn a bit of money & figure out what you like/loathe/could probably tolerate about that type of work.

Also, you're 21 with zip in the way of work experience... and (most) kids screw up in their first job or two and may even get fired (I did, twice, at 14 and 15)... which is no big deal as a kid... but becomes increasingly more so once you're 18+. If nothing else, some work experience (even crappy McDs experience) on your CV is way better than explaining why you've got zip.



absatlow
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28 Jun 2015, 12:52 pm

To respond to your post CateJayne:

1. I referred to the code of conduct because others broke it when I wrote controversial stuff

2. I asked K Kelly about her mental illness because like I described before, if I have an ACCURATE mental health diagnosis then I'd understand strengths that can be turned into jobs. I don't support "individualizing" treatment. Think it's BS. Anyone (including yourself) who claims they are individualizing puts me in a mold that's not me anyway. Have met numerous people very recently failed by the current system.

3. I do have work experience and started when I was 10 (but not the usual work experience). Will list the experiences I have:
---ran a successful nonprofit called AviCares that I founded for 10+ years
---led and overseen people thru the nonprofit (management roles)
---raised $10k+ plus donations of stuff and time valued $50k+
---do paid surveys to earn money (can make $20k+ per year doing this)
---gotten awards and was in the newspaper as a youth for my nonprofit

I currently don't have a job because I never filed out a job application. I want to be self employed (but don't think this path is for everyone).

4. People would want to hire those with ASD without a direction or credentials because many (but not all) possess skills that the general population doesn't have. If people know how to use them, it would significantly aid the workforce. I want to someday create a temp firm to provide employers and companies services people with ASD tend to be good at.

5. I understand how to get those with ASD jobs because I have overseen 500+ people thru my nonprofit along with 2 paid staff members. I get the other side of the coin (the employer) and also have ASD. Many people who don't put me in an inaccurate box (like people on Wrong Planet routinely do) have told me I'd make a good job coach.

6. I think the whole "soft skills" thing is a bunch of BS. Asking someone with ASD to learn "soft skills" is like asking a person in a wheelchair to do construction work. Just like with wheelchairs, society needs to be more accessible for ASD.

7. I don't feel accepted on Wrong Planet. Think the website has people on it that are far from how I operate. I honestly feel more accepted and understood by the non autistic community in Florida where I live than by this community. Unlike in the general population, I feel stereotyped and falsely labeled by most other ASD chatters on this forum. Just like many feel about Autism Speaks, I don't feel represented by Wrong Planet. Don't feel that Wrong Planet speaks for me. If Wrong Planet needs to ban anyone with ASD from their site than something is wrong with Wrong Planet (they don't accommodate as many people as they think they do).